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Magic Knight Rayearth: 3 Fuu

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Fuu finishes the archery match: A1
Source: TV
Layers: 1
Sketches: 3
Cel Number: A1
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Added 3/20/2020
Updated 3/28/2021
Ep. 36 (Fuu versus Aska! The Life or Death Archery Match), cut 255. Fuu has been the captive of Lady Aska, who agrees to free her if she bests her in an archery duel, which she designs to favor her own skills over the Knight’s ability. Nevertheless, Fuu wins handily, whereupon the petulant ruler reneges on her promise and summons a band of ninjas who surround the visitor. Fuu forces them back with arrows, each carefully aimed to repel but not injure the target. But tiring of the game, Fuu smiles and fires one last arrow that is calculated to affirm that she is the victor.

The scene is well planned: a flash cut between Fuu notching her last arrow and a terrified Lady Aska implies that the Knight intends to finish the trial by killing her treacherous captor. But in fact Fuu has something cleverer and more humane in mind. (No, I won’t explain: go watch the episode.)

This was a partial sketch set, including the layout and three gengas plus a planned inbetweener, along with a rough and post-genga shuusei on yellow paper. It also included several sheets working out the mechanics of how Fuu releases the arrow and how its flight out of the frame will be imaged.

Here I’ve featured the A1 genga, showing Fuu locking onto her target with her usual battle-seasoned intensity. It and all the gengas were drawn very lightly by the key animator, and so I’ve substantially darkened the pencilwork to make it easily visible on this platform.

The thumbnails add two of the yellow-paper sketches, the first a vigorous rough that emphasizes that Fuu chooses an arrow with an unusually large head, looking like one of the flint tips used by Native Americans. The second is an especially nice post-genga shuusei that works over Fuu’s head and determined expression.

The animation supervisors for this episode were Keiji Gotoh [後藤 圭二] and his wife Megumi Kadonosono [門之園 恵美], both distinguished anime artists. The yellow rough and shuusei I believe are Gotoh’s work, based on stylistic similarities and personal peculiarities also seen in my roughs from Hyper Police’s Ep. 26, also directed by Gotoh.

This artist was a versatile gengaman and sakkan with credits ranging from the classic Neon Genesis Evangelion and Slayers Try to more recent CGI series like Penguindrum and A Certain Magical Index. His most important assignments include character design for Hyper Police and Martian Successor Nadesico (TV and movie), and for Those Who Hunt Elves. More recently he has served in the series director role, handling the Kiddy Grade series (TV and movies) and the yōkai/detective series In/Spectre (2020)

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